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Silicon Valley Takes on Skin Care


bloomberg articleThe following is an excerpt from Kyle Chayka | July 7, 2016 | Bloomberg.com |

Douglas Jardine, the 36-year-old co-founder of Airdna, a company in Los Angeles that tracks data on Airbnb reservations, got accustomed to a skin-care regimen after moving to South Korea in 2010. “South Korean society is looks-obsessed, and it’s much more accepted for men to use products there,” he says. But when Jardine returned to the U.S. in 2013, he says he found the wide-ranging product lines of upmarket brands “bewildering.”

So Jardine was relieved to find Mavericks, a new company in Silicon Valley promising to optimize skin care with ruthless efficiency. Like Soylent, Bulletproof Coffee, and CrossFit, Mavericks plays to the modern cult of techno-utility. There are only three products: a cleanser named Wash; a moisturizer, Rebuild; and a sunblock, Protect. They’re packaged in minimalist, all-black pump bottles, each with an “objective.” (Wash’s objective is, not shockingly, to “remove excess dirt, oil, and dead skin cells.”) Tech bros such as Jardine are the target customer. “This three-step process appealed to me,” he says. “Maybe it’s partially due to my engineer mentality.”

Mavericks founder Brad Yim was a onetime tech bro, too. The former software engineer jumped ship from a failing company in the dot-com bust of the late ’90s, then went to graduate school at MIT and the Wharton School before spending a dozen years in finance. As happens when you’re in finance that long, by 2013 he noticed circles under his eyes and the beginnings of a forehead crease. He wanted to take better care of himself but wasn’t sure how. “In the age of the selfie, how you look is kind of important,” says Yim, 40, whose skin has a dewy sheen.

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